NFL Draft Preview: NFC East

Read our complete 2006 NFL Draft Coverage!

Dallas Cowboys
Current 1st Round Draft Position: 18th
Top Team Needs: S, QB, OG, OT

S: Roy Williams anchors the SS spot and is one of the best in the NFL. But the FS spot needs someone badly. Restricted free agent Keith Davis has been signed to an offer sheet by the New Orleans Saints and it remains to be seen if the Cowboys will match. Even if they did, this would still be the position of greatest need on the team as Davis was a hitter, but a liability against the pass. Willie Pile failed when given the chance. A ball-hawking FS is a top priority.

QB: Will this be the season the Cowboys finally get serious about finding someone to groom for the future? It should be as Drew Henson has done nothing to prove he’s anything more than another Chad Hutchinson, and Tony Romo isn’t a starting caliber NFL QB. Drew Bledsoe is 36 years old and struggled down the stretch in 2005. A young QB with starting potential needs to be drafted, maybe even on day one.

OG: The Cowboys let Larry Allen go to San Francisco and although he was on the downside of his career, a replacement for him is necessary. The team signed Kyle Kosier to start opposite Marco Rivera, but Kosier may not be the answer. At the very least someone to compete with Kosier needs to be brought in, either through the draft or after the draft in free agency.

OT: Former New York Jet Jason Fabini will shore up the RT spot and allow the Cowboys to develop Rob Petitti (who as a rookie in 2005 was thrust into a starting role last season). Petitti struggled in pass protection and may not be the future. Insurance for LT Flozell Adams (returning from a torn ACL) and Fabini (returning from a torn pectoral muscle) would be wise.

New York Giants
Current 1st Round Draft Position: 25th
Top Team Needs: DT, LB, OT, WR

DT: Kendrick Clancy’s loss in free agency leaves the Giants with underperforming William Joseph and situational player Fred Robbins. Joseph has top talent, but has never put it together, and Robbins is one dimensional. A tough interior defensive lineman is a must.

LB: When healthy, the tandem of MLB Antonio Pierce, and OLB’s Carlos Emmons and Reggie Torbor are a solid unit. Problem is keeping them healthy. The addition of Lavar Arrington makes it unlikely the Giants use a first day pick on a LB, but there is still a lack of quality depth. Torbor likely goes into a backup role now, but there needs to be more than just him as injuries pointed out last year.

OT: Kareem McKenzie is an anchor on the right side, but Luke Petitgout struggled with injuries, the most significant of which is a recurring back injury. The Giants re-signed 14 year veteran Bob Whitfield as insurance, but he’s just a stop gap. A young LT needs to be groomed for the future.

WR: Despite a late season slump, Plaxico Burress turned in a fine first year in New York and is a solid starter. Amani Toomer opposite him is starting to age though. Jamaar Taylor and Tim Carter behind them haven’t lived up to their potential and neither is capable of pushing Toomer for a starting spot. A WR who either can, or can develop into a starter is needed.

Philadelphia Eagles
Current 1st Round Draft Position: 14th
Top Team Needs: LB, WR, OT, RB

LB: Bringing Shawn Barber back was a good move as he knows the system, but Barber’s spent two injury plagued seasons in Kansas City and he’s hardly the long term solution at the weak side OLB spot. Dhani Jones is steady, but unspectacular as the starter on the strong side. A young stud on the outside should be a high priority.

WR: Terrell Owens is gone. Last years first round pick, Reggie Brown, showed flashes of good things to come as a rookie, but opposite him is a big question mark. Todd Pinkston’s coming back from a ruptured Achilles tendon injury that sidelined him all of last season. Greg Lewis simply is too small to be effective on the outside. Former Houston Texan Jabar Gaffney has had plenty of starting experience, but he is slow and has never shown anything that resembles special skills. The Eagles need a capable starting WR opposite Brown.

OT: The Eagles are counting on Tra Thomas to return from a December surgery to remove part of a fragmented disc in his back. Indications are that he should be fine, but this is a serious red flag for the team as Thomas will turn 32 in November. Todd Herremans is a capable backup, but an ankle injury cut his season short in 2005 as well. Jon Runyan was re-signed and while a dominant RT, he has a November birthday as well that will see him turn 33. Drafting a T for the future would be a smart move.

RB: The only thing the Eagles lack at RB is a big powerful RB who can be counted on to pound away at opponents and get those tough yards. Brian Westbrook and Ryan Moats are both smaller RB’s with similar styles. Correll Buckhalter fits the bigger RB bill, but will be trying to return from his 3rd season ending knee injury since 2002, and therefore can’t be counted on. It’s doubtful to be a 1st round consideration, or even a second round consideration, but any time after that the Eagles will likely take the power RB they lack.

Washington Redskins
Current 1st Round Draft Position: None
Top Team Needs: LB, TE, OG, K

LB: The Redskins aren’t expected to bring back Lavar Arrington, leaving a hole on the outside opposite the outstanding Marcus Washington. The Redskins have the option of moving Lemar Marshall from MLB to the outside, and may do so depending on whether the best LB available to them is an ILB or OLB. Currently the team is trying to re-sign Warrick Holdman to compete with Chris Clemons for a starting job, but neither is the answer.

TE: Since Chris Cooley is technically an H-Back and not a TE, the Redskins need a young TE to replace departed Robert Royal. Royal was a better pass catcher than blocker and since the TE in the Redskins offense needs to be a blocker first, the team went out and signed veteran Christian Fauria from New England. But Fauria is at the end of his career and a young guy who can bring size and blocking ability would be welcome.

OG: Randy Thomas is solid at the RG spot, but Derrick Dockery hasn’t developed into the dominant player the Redskins hoped for when they drafted him in the third round in 2003. He still may, but the Redskins may look to the draft to find another G to push him.

K: John Hall hasn’t played a full 16 game season since 2003 because he either can’t stay healthy. Hall’s career accuracy percentage is only 74% so the Redskins should be looking to bring in a young kicker to compete with him. They did sign Tyler Jones and allocated him to NFL Europe, but it’s still not out of the question for the Redskins to draft one.

See Russ's other 2006 NFL Draft articles:

Russ Bliss is FantasyFootballStarters.com's exclusive fantasy football expert, a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, and for 10 years has been the radio host of "The Red Zone, Talking Fantasy Football and the NFL," in Phoenix, Arizona.

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